|Publication number||US7125454 B2|
|Application number||US 10/347,400|
|Publication date||Oct 24, 2006|
|Filing date||Jan 21, 2003|
|Priority date||Jan 22, 2002|
|Also published as||EP1329339A1, US20030136337|
|Publication number||10347400, 347400, US 7125454 B2, US 7125454B2, US-B2-7125454, US7125454 B2, US7125454B2|
|Inventors||Jean-Pierre Gregoire, Alain Philippe|
|Original Assignee||Neopost Industrie|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (11), Classifications (11), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates exclusively to the domain of mail handling and more particularly to a device for moistening the flaps of envelopes, integrated in a mail handling machine and presenting a considerable versatility of use.
Envelope moistening devices are well known. U.S. Pat. No. 4,903,633 illustrates an example thereof, with, disposed from upstream to downstream with respect to the direction of advance of the envelopes, a separator for separating the flap from the body of the envelope and a moisture applicator, placed just behind this separator, for moistening this flap once this flap is separated from the body of the envelope. This moisture applicator is preferably formed in two parts, with an applicator element whose end rests on a pad partly immersed in a reservoir of water disposed beneath the conveyor table, the flap being moistened during its passage between the applicator element and this moistened pad.
However, this moistening device suffers from several limitations due in particular to its moistening member. Firstly, its dimensioning prevents the passage of envelopes whose flaps exceed the width of the moistening member proper, conventionally of the order of 4 or 5 cm. Secondly, the nature of its material, composed of bristles and cellular material, is particularly subject to wear and tear and obliges regular changes, otherwise moistening is partial and non-homogeneous. Finally, without a complementary masking element for example, the very arrangement of the moistening member does not allow the passage of envelopes with open flaps without necessarily moistening the flaps thereof.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a moistening device capable of moistening envelopes of different formats and types. The invention proposes producing such a device simply and inexpensively, minimizing the modifications to be made to a standard mail handling machine.
These objects are attained by a device for moistening envelope flaps, comprising a reservoir of liquid and means for pumping this liquid, characterized in that it further comprises, disposed transversely with respect to a direction of advance of the envelopes and inclined with respect to a horizontal plane supporting these envelopes, means for spraying on the envelope flaps part of the liquid pumped from the reservoir of liquid.
In this way, with this particular configuration, it is a simple matter to handle all types and formats of envelopes. In addition, it becomes possible to handle envelopes with half-open flaps without moistening the latter.
Said inclination of the spray means corresponds to an angle of inclination of the flaps of envelopes with folded down flaps, viz. an inclination included between 10 and 20°, and preferably 15°.
This inclined configuration of the spray means allows the passage of flaps of very-large width, i.e. up to 9 cm, and this without noteworthy-modification of the architecture of the mail handling machine.
The spray means preferably comprise a bar perforated with the orifices from which are sprayed droplets of liquid, these orifices advantageously being disposed in a single line of projection.
According to an advantageous form of embodiment, the reservoir of liquid comprises an opening for collecting the excess liquid sprayed through the orifices of the bar and channeled by a recovery gutter and its upper surface constitutes a fixed deflection means for assisting guiding of the flaps of the nested envelopes. This upper surface of the reservoir of liquid advantageously comprises a plurality of spring blades for applying the flaps of envelopes which are nested or with folded down flaps, against the bar.
The invention will be more readily understood on reading the following description given by way of non-limiting example and with reference to the accompanying drawing, in which:
Referring now to the drawings,
This feed module comprises, in addition to its usual zones of reception of documents 12 and of selection 14 (only partially shown), a conventional moistening device 16 formed successively (i.e. from upstream to downstream with respect to the direction of advance of the mail items) by a separator 18 for separating the flap of the envelope 10A from the body of the envelope 10B and a moistener 20, placed just behind this separator, for moistening this flap once the flap 10A is separated from the body of the envelope 10B. This moistener is preferably formed by a brush 22 of which the end rests on the surface of a small basin of water 24 arranged beneath a table 26 for supporting the mail items, a flap in that case being moistened during its passage between the brush and the basin of which constant-level feed is effected from a reservoir or a container of water (not shown). Drive means 28 are in addition conventionally disposed at the outlet of the moistener 20 to convey the mail items up to the inlet of the franking machine or of the following module of the mail handling machine, in principle a module (not shown) for printing postal indicia, when the feed module is directly integrated in this machine. In general, the inlet rollers of the printing module act as means for closing the previously moistened envelopes, unless the feed module presents its own closure means.
According to the invention, the moistener of this moistening device is constituted by means for spraying onto the envelope flaps 10A a humidifying liquid, preferably water, pumped by pumping means 38 from the reservoir of liquid 34. These spray means are disposed transversely with respect to the direction of advance of the envelopes and inclined with respect to the horizontal plane supporting the envelopes 26. This inclination of the spray means included between 10 and 20°, preferably 15°, which corresponds to the inclination of the lower surface of the separator 30 (which defines the angle of inclination of the folded-down flaps) allows in addition the moistening of large-dimensioned flaps, typically up to 9 cm in width, contrary to the conventional horizontal moistening members limited to a width of 4 to 5 cm. In addition, the inclined arrangement of the spray means makes it possible, when the pumping means 38 are stopped, to promote delivery of the liquid by gravity towards these pumping means and therefore the passage through the moistener of envelopes with open or half-open flaps without the risk of moistening the flaps of these envelopes.
As illustrated in
Taking into account the dimensions of the envelope flaps which vary depending on the format of the envelopes, it so happens that the projection of the droplets, particularly through the lowermost orifices and therefore those most remote from the wall 36 for aligning the envelopes, does not occur on the flaps but outside them. There is thus provided at the level of the liquid reservoir 34 an opening 50 for recovering this liquid projected in the void, this excess liquid advantageously being channeled towards this opening thanks to a gutter 52 (shown in dotted lines) mounted on the edge of the reservoir all along the perforated bar.
In order to ensure a perfect contact of the flaps with the spray means and thus guarantee a uniform humidification of these flaps, it is preferably provided to use a plurality of spring plates 54 arranged in the path of travel of the mail items at the downstream part of the reservoir substantially level with the spray means. These supple plates 54, by applying the flaps against the bar, will assist maintenance of this contact without braking the advance of the envelope.
It will be noted that, in the configuration illustrated, the reservoir of liquid 34 is advantageously arranged entirely beneath the surface supporting the mail items 26, its upper surface being used as surface for guiding the envelope flaps and more particularly shaped as fixed deflection means (in the form of delta wing 34A) for nested envelopes, with an initial position of the flaps about 90° (these flaps in that case being in a groove (reference 56 in
This reservoir may, of course, also have a more conventional rectangular shape, the fixed deflection means in that case being mounted directly on the aligning wall. Depending on the size of this reservoir, an additional exchangeable or refillable liquid container, currently containing 1.5 litre, may also be associated with this reservoir in order to increase the capacity and facilitate the periodic filling thereof.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3905325||Oct 10, 1974||Sep 16, 1975||Pitney Bowes Inc||Envelope flap moistening apparatus|
|US3911862||Nov 4, 1974||Oct 14, 1975||Pitney Bowes Inc||Envelope flap moistening apparatus|
|US4773962 *||Oct 28, 1987||Sep 27, 1988||Smh Alcatel||Device for moistening the closure flaps of envelopes|
|US4903633||May 19, 1989||Feb 27, 1990||Pitney Bowes Inc.||Fluid supply apparatus|
|US4924805||Dec 28, 1988||May 15, 1990||Pitney Bowes Inc.||Pump system for moistener nozzle|
|US5555701||Nov 29, 1994||Sep 17, 1996||Fehringer; Robert||Envelope wetting and sealing apparatus|
|US5840123 *||May 22, 1992||Nov 24, 1998||Pitney Bowes Inc.||Mailing system moistener apparatus with recirculating excess moistening fluid|
|US5976313 *||Mar 30, 1998||Nov 2, 1999||John N. Maguire, III||Adjustable spray moistener for envelopes|
|US6193825 *||Dec 28, 1998||Feb 27, 2001||Pitney Bowes Inc.||Method and apparatus for moistening envelope flaps|
|US6206586 *||Aug 17, 1999||Mar 27, 2001||Eastman Kodak Company||Protective films on photographic images|
|US6341840 *||Aug 11, 2000||Jan 29, 2002||Oce-Technologies B.V.||Method of printing a substrate and a printing system containing a printing device suitable for use of the method|
|U.S. Classification||118/326, 118/324, 118/313, 156/442.2, 118/323, 427/421.1, 156/441.5|
|International Classification||B05B1/28, B43M5/04|
|Mar 24, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NEOPOST INDUSTRIE, FRANCE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GREGOIRE, JEAN-PIERRE;PHILIPPE, ALAIN;REEL/FRAME:013885/0261
Effective date: 20030221
|Apr 15, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Apr 17, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8